How to create backlink-worthy content

Put your backlink strategy on autopilot

This is not an article about what a waste of time devising a backlink strategy is.

It’s an article about how creating content that gets organic backlinks is:

  • The least time-consuming backlinking method.
  • White hat as hell. Google won’t be mad at you.
  • Great for general SEO and free.

Backlink strategies are, I’m sure, great, but I’m a writer.

I like to write.

I don’t like to spend hours finding sites that might want to link to me, scouring that site for a contact email, and crafting emails that rarely get a response.

And to be perfectly honest, there are more efficient ways you can be spending your time in the first few months of your blog.

If you do want to add backlink outreach to your arsenal of SEO weapons, then wait until you have six months worth of content. You’re more likely to get positive responses if it looks like you’re in this for the long haul.

So, what is backlink-worthy content?

In short, it has to be great. Better than any other content in your niche. From the outset, that sounds, if not impossible, then pretty difficult.

But there are a few ways to make your content shine.

Long-form content

It’s no secret that Google loves long content. But before you go and write a 30,000 novella on the ins and outs of outdoor trampolines, consider your competition.

You don’t need to write the longest article in the world — it just needs to be the longest article on SERP. How long is the article ranking number 1? If it’s 1,000 words, make yours 1,500.

If your main competition is a 10 point listicle, make a 50 point listicle.

Not only could you rank higher than them, but your post is more likely to get a backlink. A lot of sites outsource their SEO, so the guy picking sites to link to will likely pick whoever’s ranking number 1.

But I get it, ranking number one on Google doesn’t guarantee backlinks. Do you know what does?

Unique content

Creatin unique content is a sure-fire way of getting backlinks. And it’s not as difficult to do as you might think.

  • Low competition, low search keywords

Sometimes you come across a keyword that’s really low competition. There are very few articles on the topic due to low search volume. It’s just not worth creating the content.

But if you can knock out that article in an hour, it could garner backlinks from sites that didn’t think it was worth the trouble. A lot of big magaziney-websites pay their writers (duh) so they need more bang for their buck.

There’s no financial gain for them to write the article, but their readers might be interested in a little further reading.

Maybe there’s a technical keyword most people aren’t interested in.

For example, the underside of some plant leaves are purple, and predictably, not many people care.

The keyword ‘plant leaves purple’ comes up with unrelated content about purple plants, and the keyword ‘why do calathea leaves have purple undersides?’ is extremely easy to rank for and extremely low search volume.

It’s just not one of those questions that keeps people up at night.

The search term ‘Calathea’ is incredibly hard to rank for. Only big plant websites win that one.

But it makes sense for them to link to the only website that will tell their readers in a non-sciencey way why the undersides of some leaves are purple.

You could gain a quality backlink and a number one ranking article with an hour’s work.

  • Stats

Getting stats that no one else has access to is easier than you’d think, depending on your niche.

Assuming you have even a passing interest in your niche, you probably belong to at least one Facebook group that shares information on that topic. If not, join one. Though lurk a bit, before proceeding with my plan. No one likes a spammer.

That means you have access to potentially thousands of people you could survey and create your own stats.

Say you’re in the dog niche. You could ask people to fill in a survey asking questions like:

  • How long does it take you to house train your dog?
  • Is your dog friendly towards other dogs?
  • Does your dog get on with cats?

You could end up with a LOT of valuable data that no one else has FOR FREE, like ‘what % of {insert dog breed here} get along with cats.’

Make sure that you ask admins if it’s ok, and be sure to tell people how you’re planning on using their information. It goes without saying that you mustn’t reveal any personal information.

Is blog commenting a good way to get backlinks?

It absolutely can be, but I make sure that I only comment on blogs in my spare time. Whilst it can yield good results, it’s not a productive enough use of your time.

  • Comment predominantly on high authority sites

They have a lot of traffic that you could possibly point to your site.

  • Comment on sites that are adjacent to your niche, but not direct competition

If your niche is outside furniture, comment on general home decor sites. Make sure you make it clear what your niche is — you might pique the interest of fellow commenters. If your niche is dogs, comment of pet sites, not dog-specific sites.

Commenting on the direct competition’s site can result in your comment being removing.

  • Don’t be spammy

I comment a lot on Apartment Therapy, even though there’s no way for me to get a backlink (they use Spot.IM). I offer further information and help people.

(Telling people where to get recommended products cheaper is a great way to get people interested.)

Sometimes people ask for my link, but since everything’s anonymous, you can just drop your link and say that that’s where you get your information.

Maybe even just drop your Instagram or Pinterest handle, to really hammer home that you’re helpful, not spammy. We’re playing the long game here.

Just don’t drop your link unsolicited without leaving something of value. I know it’s difficult, especially when you're first starting out, but we’re after sustainable traffic here, not a few quick wins.

My backlink outreach method

  • Guest posting

Don’t guest post until you have a lot of content. At least 30 articles. You need content on your site first.

Your guest posts have to be awesome to do well, so make sure that your keyword is something you couldn’t hope to rank for on your own site.

Awesome content you can rank for belongs on your website.

Listicles are good.

The key to guest posting is showing your personality. It’s the one way you KNOW you’re different to everyone else. It’s your time to shine. Sell yourself.

  • Create content. Ask for a link.

Simple, but doesn’t yield great results in return for the time.

I like to reverse-engineer this process. Find the site you want a backlink from, and read all their stuff.

Write an article that would complement their post, but not compete with it, or steal revenue. Don’t try to get backlinks for highly-monetised articles — it looks super spammy. If your interlinking strategy is good, readers will find them.

Product reviews can work, but they need to be good. You need to have used that product. Nothing will tank your reputation like a good review for a crap product.

Final thoughts on backlinking strategies

  • Create a lot of content first. I know it’s tedious when your pageviews are non-existent but don’t shoot your shot too soon.
  • Leverage high-competition keywords in guest posts
  • Backlinking is not the most important thing for SEO. You should learn how to get eyes on your site first. It’s like Pinterest — super useful, but extremely time-consuming to perfect, and a massive distraction to newbies.

I’ve recently started a blog on blogging — if you hate promoting on social media, but want to make money blogging, check out Stone Cold Content here.

She’s still fairly new, but expect a lot of content in the new few weeks.

Writer, blogger. Rabbit parent to one. Plant parent to many. Occasional runner, jigsaw puzzle enthusiast.

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